Thursday, May 19, 2016

National Police Week

This week, through May 21, is National Police Week.

Be appreciative of the job that police officers, deputy sheriffs, troopers and other law enforcement officers do in our country.

And be aware of the risks they face every day, on every shift.

The next time you are stopped, keep your cool. Don't smart off, like you see some people doing on video in their cars or on foot. Be respectful, and I strongly suspect that you will be treated respectfully.

If you cop (no pun intended; or maybe it is) an attitude with a cop, guess what? He'll find something to write you a ticket for. Being polite and respectful doesn't mean that you won't get a ticket. If you violated some law (for example, a traffic law), that's why you got stopped. You might or might not get a ticket.

When I made a traffic stop, my mind was made up before I ever got out of the car or off the motorcycle, whether the driver was going to get a warning or a ticket. I didn't leave it up to whether she had on a short skirt or was wearing a suit (or flashed his badge at me). If a driver ran a red light and I stopped him, he was going to get a ticket. Period. I was polite about it, but there was no discussion. If he wanted to discuss it, it would be in front of the judge.

Sometimes my intention to write a warning escalated to a ticket, if the driver "earned" it with attitude. I never wrote a warning, instead of a ticket. And what kind of vehicle it was did not make a difference.

Remind yourself to keep your hands in sight, preferably on top of the steering wheel with your hands open, so it's clear to the officer that you have nothing in your hands. Don't make any "furtive" moves. Don't suddenly reach for your wallet or reach for the glove compartment (or open the console).

Cops expect people to be armed, legally or not. If you are legally armed, consider informing the officer even before he asks. If he asks for your wallet, tell him which pocket it's in and ask him whether you should move your hand to get it. If you are armed, he will very likely ask you about your firearm and where it is.

Listen carefully to the officer's directions and follow them. If they aren't clear, ask questions. You don't want to get shot, and he doesn't want to shoot you.


Big Daddy said...

"or flashed his badge at me". Boy, I'll bet you never won the most popular colleague contest.

Gus said...

Not only did I not win the contest, I wasn't even allowed to enter!

In one DUI Stop re-training class, I was left sitting alone in the middle of the room, after I answered the sergeant's question about how to handle a stop of a drunk uniformed officer from a neighboring town. No one wanted to sit anywhere near me! Everyone else wanted to extend "professional courtesy". I said I'd be "courteous" while I arrested him.